Afghanistan ready for a scrap
Most Bangladeshi fans may have one eye on the England series next month, but for Afghanistan this is the biggest chance they have gotten till now to make a mark as far as bilateral engagements go. In their short stint in top-level cricket, the war-torn nation has garnered a reputation for crashing parties.
They won their first bilateral series against an ICC Full Member by beating Zimbabwe 2-1 in October 2015. More relevantly they have won their only match against Bangladesh in Bangladesh and have also got off to a winning start on this tour by defeating BCB XI in the lone practice match in Fatullah on Friday.
"A win is a win in any practice match. We got the confidence and definitely we will take the momentum. Bangladesh is a Test playing country who have done well at home," said their Indian coach Lalchand Rajput during the pre-match press conference yesterday. "It is not going to be easy but we will definitely give them a run for their money."
The balance in Afghanistan's bowling attack is their most obvious strength, as the combined performance by spin and pace in Friday's win proved.
"We have good medium-pacers and spinners who will get assistance in Bangladesh. We have a young guy who just came from the U-19s [leg-spinner Rashid Khan]. He really impressed us in the camp in India. We have experience and youth," added Rajput.
Skipper Asghar Stanikzai hinted that only a win would satisfy the Associate Member team. "Everybody has come here for a win. We will try our best against the Full Member nations. We will get a lot of experience playing against them, and we want to play a lot against them."